To Ensure Domestic Tranquility

Here’s an anecdote from the 1980s.  My family drove to San Francisco to visit friends.  We parked across the street from said friends house, and while exchanging greetings on the front steps, we hear the sound of breaking glass.  We turn to see a perpetrator execute a smash-and-grab of my mothers purse from the back seat of our car which, being a country bumpkin from Mendocino County, she left in plain view.  Police were alerted, and a description given: “oh yeah we know exactly who he is. He’s been working this neighborhood for a month.”

Two weeks later my parents get a call from SFPD. They have him in custody. Could you return to San Francisco to identify him? It’s very important we have an eyewitness. We need to put him away.  We can pay your mileage costs.

My parents demur. It’s a long drive.  Besides, it was only $20.  (Plus the window, of course, which they never fixed).  Also, he was (sotto voce) black,  putting them in rather a tight spot politically.

So no burdensome police lineup for my feckless parents ensconced in their  rural splendor with Third Reich demographics, $400/year property tax and robbery rate of .001%. From their hippie shire they eagerly voted for the lefty-ist candidates on the ballot, every time, and still do (except for Prop. 13 repeal).

But it was to be another decade of smash and grab for urban people, liberals included, until they voted for the restoration of order. For broken windows policing. For Three Strikes laws. For Anti-Gang injunctions. For prosecution of petty theft.  Leading the charge: middle-class black folk.

It was such a resounding success in achieving its policy goals Broken Windows was unassailable for twenty years. You could not run against it. Not in New York, not in L.A or anywhere between.  In the early 1990s you couldn’t sell a house South of the 10. Now they go in multiple offers.

For how much longer?

As self-parody it would be difficult to improve upon this. Kate Chatfield works in the SF District Attorney’s office under Chesa Boudin. Before Chesa was installed by George Soros, friend of the looter, Kate made a living suing police departments. Now on the other side of the table, she declines to prosecute “crime” and likens victims to the KKK.

They used to get it, even in SF. An ignored $20 purse snatch becomes a series of snatches and doesn’t stay a $20 problem for long. What happens to a city when ten people enter a store and each steal $950 worth of goods, in plain view of security, who are told to stand down for fear of lawsuits/bad press and who could be punched with impunity by the thieves since simple assault is no longer prosecuted? How long can stores remain open?

If you think this is only a question of property crime and hoping we can just eat the cost somehow in higher prices and ride it out, consider the above two minute cinema verite futurism.

Three hundred pounds, this guy. Multiple eyewitness. License plate. DNA.  Coverage on local news. No arrest.

Wait, what? Back up.

Police never caught him. She was the third woman this criminal mastermind assaulted is as many days, all from his vehicle.  A week later, his mother turned him in. How much shoe leather did they put in on this?  I’m afraid to know the answer.

Maybe Kate Chatfield is telling on herself with the Birth of a Nation reference.  That’s where this going, isn’t it? The logic of Critical Race Theory leads inevitably to the erosion of a rules based order, and a concomitant demand we make our skin color our uniform, all of us. Vigilante justice, the mirror image of looting, will be unavoidable.

But it won’t be white people, at least not in L.A.  Their wealth discriminates, so they don’t have to. Those who aren’t wealthy enough for safety have decamped for the exurbs, or the red states, or are planning to do so. Or they are single and childless and renting and will simply pull up stakes when the cost/benefit calculus turns unfavorable.

No, the vigilantes will be the people who can’t back up.  Who are rooted to mortgages, to brick and mortar employment, kinship networks and parental obligation. People who won’t go back to the old country.   People who have ceded as much ground as they are going to and not an inch farther.

Latinos. Armenians. The people at Nolo’s Barbershop, where I get my haircuts.  Men who shook their heads at the obsequious news coverage of the George Floyd trial and clucked and spoke freely and didn’t care who heard.

I’m an urban guy. I can abide a certain degree of day to day friction, but I don’t want to live in a Los Angeles without handcuffs, and I definitely don’t wish to stay in the version of Los Angeles that comes after.

I, For One, Welcome Our Corporate-Sponsored Overlords

Rich wypipo say, look at me

Would you be a cop today?  If you were a strapping young man or woman with a strong sense of civic duty, would you sign up for a career?  Would you encourage your child? If you were  already a cop, in say, Los Angeles, would you put in for a transfer to a rural jurisdiction or take early retirement? If you are mid-career and the rural departments are full up, and you’re stuck in LA waiting out your 20, how proactive are you going to be?  If theft under $1000, mugging and assault are now misdemeanors (provided no gun is used), how much effort are you going to exert chasing violators?

Police encounter uncooperative suspects in a state of acute drug intoxication every day.  There are protocols for this. Those protocols were followed in the case of George Floyd. Up until the last three minutes of the encounter, that is. The prosecution conceded as much at trial.  Now Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder. Not negligence. Not a failure to exercise caution. Murder, of a man with advanced arterio-sclerosis and a lethal level of fentanyl in his system. A man who had overdosed on fentanyl several months prior and for which he was hospitalized for five days. A man who left two chewed fentanyl tablets in the back seat of the police car with his DNA on them.  Nine minutes with a knee across the shoulder blades is not going to induce cardiac arrest in a healthy person. Don’t believe me? Try it at home.

Chauvin inspires little empathy from me. He was negligent. I worry about the badge, not the man. I worry about the thin blue line, forgive the cliche, separating civilization from barbarism.

What happens to police work now? For starters, physical contact with violent subjects will drop away to nothing.  Unless you’re charging at someone with a knife. Oh, wait…

Columbus, Ohio, the day the Chauvin verdict was read

After Chauvin, cops will no longer be proactive. They will drive by and wave. They will show up to take statements and file incident reports. Protection? Not so much. The broken-windows model, the one that transformed every shitty realm in LA, the policy which allowed the historical neighborhoods to rediscover their former glory, the policy that put equity into the hands of so many working class people, is now inoperative. We are entering the realm of No Handcuffs for Violent People.  How does this effect Van Nuys? Too early to tell.  How about the mortgage-holders in the neighborhoods in proximity to DTLA? Not good. Not good at all.

Mark Zuckerberg underwrites a private army worthy of Pablo Escobar. There are 6,000 security people on the Facebook payroll, $18 million per year dedicated to his detail alone. There is an escape chute in his office that goes to an underground garage and a waiting vehicle, staffed by ex-Secret Service and military people.  He maintains this posture of maximum deterrence while living in Palo Alto, the least diverse and safest city in California.  All while donating millions to the Racial Justice Accelerator Fund, which backs BLM, George Gascon, and various pro-crime initiatives, including the effort to de-felonize mugging and assault down here in L.A.  He’s not alone in this. Jack Dorsey, Laurene Powell Jobs, Mackenzie Scott, Dustin Moskowitz, Patty Quillan, all heavy donors to The Cause. (That’s Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix, if you were wondering)

The widow Jobs, and one of her many homes

Lets unpack this.  The wealthiest cohort in California is funding political street violence and altering laws that allow a very diverse population -lesbian Wiccan schoolteachers to chain-smoking Armenian bodyshop owners- to amicably share space.  Truly remarkable, when you think about it, 17 million people speaking 43 different languages can share L.A. roads every morning, conduct commerce, work amongst one other despite incompatible and mutually exclusive understandings of the cosmos, socialize and dine, with a minimum of friction. This is possible due to agreed upon societal guardrails, developed over centuries.  Los Angeles is the anti-Lebanon, the living rebuke to the idea Diversity+Proximity=War.

What if Palo Alto decides: let’s burn it all down in the name of perfection. That couldn’t really happen, right? Only in dystopian fiction…

Well….a small sliver of the population provides most of the funding for left wing causes. A handful of editors and producers at the Times and the networks set the narrative of our news feed. A microscopic percentage of the people who work in the entertainment industry decide what programs and films are greenlit. A tiny subset of administrators and admissions officers can impose Critical Race Theory on the education system by fiat, determining who is allowed to ascend into the professional classes. Five people and their advisors control the platforms on which freedom of speech is exercised in America and practically speaking, speech itself.

What if the Wuhan virus was the second most impactful event of 2020? What if the big reveal is just how small The Clerisy is and how ruthlessly it intends to impose its will?

Hello, 2021. Ready for more?

The Chauvin verdict was made with a rioters standing ready outside the courthouse, and racially motivated looting and arson taking place in Minneapolis.  With our very own Maxine Waters on the ground (behind police protection) calling for “confrontation” should the jury return a verdict for less than murder.  One is obliged to forget a whole lot of American history to believe this ends well.

Apple has an ongoing crowdsourced billboard campaign promoting the capabilities of the iPhone. This year, in keeping with the moment, they chose black photographers utilizing black subjects. Fair enough.  Take a look at the photo at the top of the page. This is what greets you as you enter West Hollywood, our most heavily looted neighborhood of 2020. This is not happenstance. TBWA/MediaArtsLab chose this photo out of countless others, and chose to place it at Doheny and Santa Monica, on behalf of the world’s third largest corporation and its major shareholder, Laurene Powell Jobs. This man, it says, has license to punch you.  Little people, take it and like it.